Dilim dönmüyor – Meine Zunge dreht sich nicht

Dilim dönmüyor – My Tongue Does Not Turn
The mother hasn’t been to her family’s Kurdish village for 30 years. Now she has her daughter, director Serpil Turhan, to thank for the fact that she’s finally embarked upon the journey. Turhan already filmed her grandparents there in the summer, thus laying the foundations for this film about three generations of her family. Thanks to Turhan’s gentle interviewing style, a safe space is created in which it is possible to talk about the family’s multifarious, sometimes even painful memories of migration and life experience, tracing an arc from the village to Istanbul and on to Berlin. Language plays a special role in the film: languages grown up with, languages learned or forgotten over the course of life; the family’s history could also be narrated via the various intersections of Kurdish, Turkish and German available to each generation. The film’s title, which describes the loss of a mother tongue, alludes to this theme. In this film, Serpil Turhan balances her different roles as a daughter, a granddaughter and a filmmaker with great confidence. And thus an intimate family project simultaneously becomes an exemplary story.
by Serpil Turhan
with Gülşah Özbey, Mustafa Özbey, Yadigar Turhan, Binali Turhan, Sema Turhan-Çetin, Alim Çetin, Lilyan Çetin, Ipek Hanim Özbey, Hasan Özbey, Şahhanim Sirek, Sakine Özer, Filiz Ak
Germany 2013 German, Turkish, Kurdish 96’ Colour Documentary form


  • Gülşah Özbey
  • Mustafa Özbey
  • Yadigar Turhan
  • Binali Turhan
  • Sema Turhan-Çetin
  • Alim Çetin
  • Lilyan Çetin
  • Ipek Hanim Özbey
  • Hasan Özbey
  • Şahhanim Sirek
  • Sakine Özer
  • Filiz Ak


Director Serpil Turhan
Cinematography Serpil Turhan
Editing Eva Hartmann
Sound Serpil Turhan

Produced by

Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe

Serpil Turhan

Born in 1979 in West Berlin. She starred in several films by Thomas Arslan and Rudolf Thome from 1997 to 2005 and studied theatre studies and media arts/film. Since 2010 she has made four documentaries, including Rudolf Thome – Überall Blumen (Berlinale Forum 2017).


2010 Herr Berner und die Wolokolamsker Chaussee (Mr. Berner and the Wolokolamsker Avenue); 39 min. 2013 Dılım Dönmüyor – Meine Zunge dreht sich nicht (Dılım Dönmüyor – My Tongue Does Not Turn); 96 min. 2016 Rudolf Thome – Überall Blumen (Rudolf Thome – Flowers Everywhere); 84 min. 2021 KÖY; 91 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022